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How to Kill Maggots – A Comprehensive Guide

How to Kill Maggots – A Comprehensive Guide

Finding an infestation of maggots in your home is the stuff of nightmares.

And while there are several health benefits to maggots (I’m not lying!), they’re still considered unhygienic to have around.

Never seen them before? Wondering, “what do maggots look like?”

To many people, maggots resemble small grains of rice. They’re also mistaken for termite, bee, and wasp larvae.

what do maggots look like

If you’ve got a conical-shaped off-white or cream-colored worm no longer than about half an inch, you have maggots.

The pointed end of the maggot’s body is its head which it uses to dig in to the food (sorry, pun intended). 

The maggots that you are likely to come across at home are from the common housefly or the bluebottle fly.

what size are maggots

Flies lay eggs (hundreds of them!), which turn into maggots (the larval stage), then undergo a pupal stage, which finally turns into flies.

Not the circle of life you want to witness. 

The fact you have ended up on this article means you’re either dealing with a maggot infestation right now, or you just want to be prepared for the future. 

So I’m going to show you how to effectively kill maggots and how to prevent an infestation from happening at all.

What Causes a Maggot Infestation

When you find an infestation, you may think that the maggots have appeared from nowhere.

Nothing could be further from the truth. You probably didn’t notice flies entering your home.

Flies will always look for places where their eggs will have enough food to feed on once they hatch.

This is why maggots usually appear near rotting or spoiled food, excessive pet feces, or an animal carcass. 

So if you’ve stumbled across a maggot infestation, chances are the food source isn’t very far off.

Conduct a proper inspection of the nearby area to determine where to focus your pest control efforts.

Where and What to Look for

As mentioned before, a fly will lay its eggs where there is abundant food as maggots need to eat a lot.

You will probably find the small white worm-like creatures in the trash or where spoiled food is kept.

where to look for maggots eggs

Take note of any animal feces that may be lying in or around the house, as flies will be seen hovering around it before they breed and lay their eggs there. 

There is also the possibility that there is a carcass of a small animal somewhere around your property that you haven’t discovered yet.

You should also look around the house for certain entry points, like broken window seals, cracks, or crevices, from where flies would gain entry into your home.

This is important for the treatment and prevention part that comes later.  

Maggots can also make their way to your pet(s) if they have an open wound.

If you see your pet itching a spot constantly, check if there’s an infected wound and if there’s a hard bump under the flesh around that area.

pet wound with fly larvae

You may find it hard to believe, but maggots can also feed on plants, as a fly may end up laying eggs in the puddle that’s left after watering.

If you notice your healthy plants dying without any visibly obvious reason, there is a chance it may have a maggot infestation.

You may have to pull up one of the plants and check for maggots inside the soil, in the root mass. 

Maggots are pretty easy to spot around a home as they are quite visible because of their color and shape, and they can end up being as big as a thumbnail. 

These pests are a nuisance because of how quietly and quickly they can make themselves at home, but they also need to be dealt with quickly.

Maggots can cause large-scale fly infestations and bacterial poisoning if they get into your food. They can also cause harm to your pets. 

So, roll up your sleeves (or maybe just keep them down for now) and get ready to rid your house of these uninvited pests. Let me show you how!

How to Kill Maggots

There are various ways to kill maggots and get rid of them once and for all.

While getting a flamethrower might be tempting when you first see them, I’ll give you some more practical ways methods.

#1. Boiling Water 

If you’ve been wondering, “what kills maggots instantly,” then boiling water is the answer. 

While this is a great short-term solution because of the less effort and mess it creates, it may not be useful for infestations you can’t see.

To counter this, you can pour water on any area you think is infested. 

#2. Bleach Water

killing maggots using bleach water

Another easy and effective way of getting rid of maggots is using bleach water. Add a cup of bleach to a cup of hot water in a plastic bowl. 

If the infestation is outdoors, pour the mixture over the region, making sure the water hits all of them.

Once you’re done, pour another bowl of the same mixture to prevent them from returning.

If the infestation is indoors, dump everything in a trash can, pour the liquid inside, and close the lid n.

The liquid, as well as the fumes from bleach, will be enough to kill the maggots.

#3. Diatomaceous Earth

One of the best organic solutions to get rid of maggots is to use diatomaceous earth, which has a range of cleaning and insecticide applications.

Ensure that you sprinkle enough diatomaceous earth over the infested area to cover the maggots completely.

The organic material sticks to their exoskeletons and dehydrates them completely. Yeah, it does the job!

You can find diatomaceous earth in large chain departmental stores as well as in your local nursery or garden center. Or just pick up at Amazon here!

#4. Permethrin

If you’ve been wondering, “what kills maggots,” when it comes to insecticides, then here’s your answer!

Permethrin is a chemical that is used as an insecticide, usually to treat scabies and lice.

However, a high enough dosage is enough to kill maggots as well. 

You can either find an insecticide with permethrin such as this popular product made by Sawyer.

People have used this on waste bins, garages, and around the house.

It’s a repellent but it works fabulously against maggots given it’s active ingredients.

maggot repellent spray


Some folks have tried missing a shampoo that contains permethrin with water.

The idea is to pour or spray the permethrin mixture over the infested area slowly to kill the pests. 

Personally, I would use the spray that is engineered to dry safely. Otherwise, you’re risking unsafe exposure to kids, pets and yourself!

#5. Standard Bug Killer

bug spray kills maggots


This is my favorite bug spray because it’s all natural. It’s a very effective mixture that will get the job done without worry of using anywhere indoors.

While bug killer sprays may not be as quickly effective as permethrin or diatomaceous earth, they will eventually kill maggots for sure.

This is one way to get at and kill maggots on your ceiling.

Find the affected area and give it 2-3 good, long sprays to make sure the maggots are fully covered in the liquid.

It might take 20-30 minutes or more before you see it take effect. 

You can get bug sprays at any convenience store or supermarket. If possible, look for products that contain permethrin.

Other Methods

Here are some other quick methods of killing maggots:

  • Cover the maggots with either lime, salt, or vinegar
  • Household chemicals like hairspray can kill maggots when sprayed 6-7 times
  • A mixture of multi-surface cleaners and hot water can also get rid of maggots 

How to Prevent Maggot Infestations

maggots on trash can

Once you have dealt with a maggot infestation, the only thing on your mind will be that you never want to see them in your house ever again. And that’s possible!

Maggots may return if you don’t have preventive measures in place to keep them away.

To prevent an infestation, always make sure that there is nothing in or around your house that would attract flies.

Here are some things you can do to prevent maggots from ever entering your house again:

  • Seal all the cracks, crevices, and other entry points from where flies could enter your house.
  • Make sure surfaces in your house are always clean and hygienic.
  • Clean up leftover food and don’t leave anything sitting out. If you want to use it later, store it in airtight containers. 
  • Make sure your trash is covered and disposed of properly every day. Tightly shut the trash bag at night to prevent odors that may attract flies.
  • If you have a pet, dispose of their poop properly.
  • Keep your pet’s food covered and clean their dish regularly. 
  • If you have compost in your yard, keep it tightly sealed to prevent flies from hovering over it.

Remember, as I said before, flies only look to lay their eggs where there will be abundant food for the maggots to feed on.

So make sure that you don’t give them an open invitation.


What Are Maggots a Sign Of?

If you see maggots in or around your house, it may be a sign of improperly disposed of trash or spoilt food, unattended pet feces in the yard, or a food handling area (around the kitchen sink, for instance) that was overlooked during cleaning.

How Do I Get Rid of Maggots in My Pets?

Maggots usually infest around the area of a pet’s wound, so you may need to shave their fur to get a better look at the situation.

Washing your pet with a medicated shampoo that contains permethrin and applying salve cream around the infected area can also help. 

However, the safest option is to take your pet to the vet for professional treatment immediately.

How to Get Rid of Maggots in Carpet?

Finding maggots in your house on the floor is surprisingly common.

First, remove whatever (spilled food, for instance) attracted the fly to lay eggs on your carpet.

Then, sprinkle boric acid over the infested area. Use a broom to push the boric acid deep inside the carpet’s fabric. 

Once you’re sure that the maggots are dead, vacuum your carpet thoroughly to remove them.

Finally, dispose of the vacuum trash bag properly in an outdoor trash can. 

Are Maggots Dangerous?

It depends. Some people are allergic to maggots. Others have contracted bacterial infections from maggots exposed to bacteria such as Salmonella. 

Skin contact with maggots results in edema, skin irritation, and eye infections such as conjunctivitis.

If you or someone you know has accidentally ingested or touched maggot-infested food, it’s better to visit a doctor.

Does Rice Turn Into Maggots?

No, rice does not turn into maggots. However, a bag of rice may contain larvae that may hatch into maggots.  


Implementing preventive measures is the best way to ensure that you are never face-to-face with one of nature’s “au naturel” organic garbage solutions. 

Should you have a slip-up, there’s no need to panic. Simply use effective chemical or organic compounds to kill them. 

Do ensure you nip the infestation in the bud to avoid having to call professional exterminators!

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Sunday 12th of November 2023

I haven't seen magggots or excessive flies at my compost pile, but they've got to be there. I wonder about this, thinking the turning isn't good for maggots. I obviously don't want to introduce bleach to stop the composting. Should I just not worry, or anyone have suggestions about what to worry about most?